ROCKVILLE, Md., March 13, 2007—Montgomery County Council President Marilyn Praisner said today that the $4.1 billion Fiscal Year 2008 County operating budget recommended by County Executive Isiah Leggett “is responsible and keeps a strong focus on the long-term picture.” She expressed support for the overall approach of the first-year County Executive’s budget, which is a 6.7 percent increase over the FY 2007 approved budget. That budget was up 11 percent over the approved FY 2006 budget.
Leggett briefed the County Council on his recommended budget earlier today. He released the budget publicly at an afternoon news conference.
“I believe the County Executive has come through with a responsible budget,” said Praisner. “The rate of growth of past budgets was simply not sustainable. We need to keep a strong focus on the long-term picture so we can maintain our quality of life while not creating a burden for taxpayers.”
The County Council has scheduled public hearings on the proposed operating and capital budgets on April 9, 10, 11 and 16. The Council is scheduled to approve the budget on May 24.
Praisner said the proposed budget provides “expanded support in several key areas – including additional police officers and firefighters, affordable housing, senior services, libraries, gang prevention and the Montgomery Cares health program for uninsured residents.”
“But the Executive’s proposed budget also recognizes that since both County and State revenue growth is slowing, the pace of budget growth must slow as well,” said Praisner. “I share his view that our budgets not only must address our priorities, but also must be sustainable in future years.”
Praisner said Leggett’s recommended budget “has honored his pledge to adhere to the Charter limit on property tax revenue. To do that, he has proposed limiting the size of residential property tax bills by providing a rebate of $613 to all owner-occupied homes. The Council first used this progressive rebate approach at my suggestion in 1998.”
Now that the proposed budget has been released, Praisner said the Council will work to adopt a final budget that meets the needs and expectations of County residents.
“The framework of the Executive’s recommended budget is sound,” she said. “Now it is up to the Council to listen to the community, make adjustments and complete the job.”
For more information about the proposed operating budget, go to the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov.